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Giant crack splits Mexico farmland: Mystery fissure puzzles locals, scientists

A giant crack split the Earth in the Mexican state of Sonora this week, cutting a roadway in two and leaving locals not only surprised but puzzled as to what could have caused the Earth to separate. At the same time, many have become worried that whatever caused the two-thirds-of-a-mile trench might be a precursor. But scientists insist that there is no cause for alarm, even though they may not know -- yet -- exactly what caused the giant crack.

Traveler's Today reported Aug. 23 that the giant crack that recently appeared outside Hermosillo in Sonora in northwest Mexico has been labeled by scientists as basically harmless. Stretching a kilometer, the giant crack is almost five meters (16 ft) wide and eight meters (26 ft) deep and set in the middle of an expanse of farmland. A video taken with a camera attached to a drone flying the length of the massive trench shows what looks like a giant scar on the Earth.

The giant crack in the Earth lies in an area impacted by the San Andreas Fault, and some local officials, according to News.com, believe that a recent earthquake (Sunday) might have caused the fissure. But

"It's definitely not a cause for alarm for the population," Martin Valencia Moreno, head of the National Autonomous University of Mexico's Regional Station of the Geological Institute, told the Excelsior newspaper, according to Huffington Post. "It's more something sensationalist and people like to encourage that sort of thing."

Moreno added that he did not believe that an eartquake had caused the deep fissure, either, noting that with an earthquake, the ground levels on the sides of the crack would have been staggered. Instead, they appeared to be relatively even, the fissure seeming to have be produced by a pulling apart and a falling away.

A group of geologists at the University of Sonora believe that the fissure was created by when land collapsed into what had been an underground stream. The stream was likely created by leakage from a farmer-built levee, which had created an underground stream that eventually weakened the earth above it, causing it to erode and collapse.

The unexpected rift divided Highway 26 and has caused a disruption in local traffic flow, forcing vehicles to drive around the affected area. And despite the reassuring words of experts, locals still worry, especially since another giant crack has been reported nearby.